The country’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, on Friday became the first telecom operator to raise tariffs since 2009. The company increased the prepaid tariff rates of its Advantage pack. As per it, users of the Advantag
e pack, which is based on per minute billing, will now pay 60 paise per minute for local and STD calls to mobile phones and 90 paise for local and STD calls to landlines. Further, R1 and R1.5 will be charged for local and national SMSes, respectively. Existing users will have to pay for new rates after the validity of their existing voucher ends.
However, there is no increase in tariff of its Freedom pack, which is based on per second billing. While it is still uncertain if the move undertaken by the country’s largest telecom operator, both by its subscriber share market and revenue share market, will be imitated by other players but it underlines the end of tariff wars for certain and can easily be interpreted as a precursor to a looming market consolidation. “All telecom operators have been under pressure and growth has been flat in the last couple of quarters. All incumbent operators have been experiencing thinning of margins,” Jaideep Ghosh of KPMG said.